Landscaper Sentenced in Union, Unemployment Fraud Case
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Steven F. Pagliarini, 57, Executive Vice-President and Treasurer of Central Landscaping Construction Company, located in Johnston, R.I., and Executive Vice-President of Central Nurseries, Inc., located in Chepachet and Johnston, R.I., was sentenced today to 3 years probation for orchestrating a scheme to avoid paying union benefits, and for providing false information to the State of Rhode Island to ensure some of his employees were paid unemployment compensation to which they were not entitled.
At sentencing, U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith also ordered Pagliarini to pay restitution totaling $171,695.22. Pagliarini pleaded guilty on January 28, 2016, to three counts of falsification of documents and one count of wire fraud.
Pagliarini’s sentence is announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Cheryl Garcia, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigation, New York Region; Susan A. Hensley, Regional Director, U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration; Todd Damiani, Special Agent in Charge of Region One U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General; Christina D. Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Region of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General; and Scott Jensen, Director of Rhode Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT).
According to information presented to the court, at various times between January 2007 and December 2010, Pagliarini submitted false documents to union welfare and pension plan administrators of two unions that represent construction equipment operators and other employees of Central Landscaping. The documents did not accurately reflect the actual number of hours worked by some employees and the actual amount of wages paid to those employees. The employees worked on federally-funded projects at the Hartford Park Project in Providence and the I-195 Relocation Project.
Additionally, according to information presented to the court, in order to avoid paying wages to some employees between November 2009 through April 2010, Pagliarini falsely reported to the RIDLT that the employees of Central Nurseries had been laid-off because of a lack of work. Pagliarini required the employees to work part-time but did not pay them. Based on documents filed with RIDLT, employees were paid a total of $68,487 in unemployment compensation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dulce Donovan.
The matter was investigated by the United States Attorney’s Office; U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigation; U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration; U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General; and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training.
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
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